Public event in Moscow calls attention to the problem of sexism in advertising

Categories: iFem, Феминизм
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Published on: 27.10.2010

Natalia Bitten
On September 23, which is Advertisers’ Day in Russia, there was a public demonstration against sexist advertising  on Gogol Boulevard in Moscow organized the pressure group Pro Feminism.

Sexist advertising in Russian Federation dominates the market.  It uses outmoded images of women and supports patriarchal stereotypes.
Images of women in advertising tend to be associated with children and housework, and even in this area the women are mostly helped by highly experienced  men.  For example in the advert for ‘Tide’ washing powder  a  woman berates her child for having a dirty t-shirt.  But when  a male expert  arrives with some Tide, the woman becomes a good mother and stops shouting at the child.
We rarely see women in advertisements for cars. Women in this kind of advertising are, in the best scenario, passengers or more commonly they act as a supplement to the car, as one of the options available to be expensively purchased by a  successful man.
The female body is portrayed as propaganda for pornography, violence and prostitution. Advertisements use images of attractive women to sell beer, car tyres, gyms or construction materials. Any product designed for heterosexual men will be sexualized, using images of conventionally attractive women wherein the woman's body is positioned to show that she is easily available and cheap.

To take some examples:

In one ad an accessories shop displays a naked woman in a poster together  with goods,  and the slogan:  “Emergency Accessories for  Life”

“A naked woman, the scent of pine, and mandarins, what a magical life.  Happy new year, stud”.  (from a Night-club party ad).

“Free trial lesson”  - a gym billboard, in which a woman caresses a man lying down.

“I suck it off for a kopeck.”  An advertisement for a vacuum cleaner.

Advertising encourages women to become obsessed with beauty,  starvation diets, and swallowing handfuls of pills, and many girls have been hospitalized with anorexia, in an attempt  to get closer to this idealized form of womanhood.

Sexist advertising fosters stereotyped thinking and objectivizes and degrades women. Regardless of what a girl's thoughts and beliefs may be, their priorities change to looking like pin-ups. Regardless of a man’s character, all that is important is that he is successful and wealthy.

For these reasons, the group Pro Feminism decided  to support Russian Advertisers’ Day by distributing greetings cards with a message.

October 23 in Russia was Advertisers’ Day.  Activists from our group "Pro Feminism," sent greetings cards to the largest Russian advertising agency with calls for employees to reject sexist advertising. We also asked the users of LiveJournal to support this action.

On October 23 some members of our group also held a public protest on Gogol Boulevard in central Moscow. Activists handed out leaflets to passers-by while carrying placards against sexist advertising, and explained to interested passers-by the meaning of "sexism" and why it is detrimental to society.

Our slogans included:

A good product doesn’t need sexist advertising.
Women's buttocks and breasts don’t need to be advertised.

You can have a look at some examples of Russian sexist advertising on this link (translated from Russian into English) http://community.livejournal.com/zafeminizm/5894.html


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